Fundu Lagoon Resort: Pemba Island Tanzania
“Hell is other people” as Freud said. There are times when we could not agree more. For us getting away from it all, and “it” being other people is the very definition of relaxation and luxury. We are not the kind of people who pony up to the hotel bar in the hopes of making new friends, nor do we invite conversation with strangers on planes. Our jobs mean that we have to talk talk talk all the time to everyone, so taking a break from this is a true luxury. Mr. M. has found the solution….
Fundu Lagoon is quite literally our idea of Heaven on Earth. Located on the Island of Pemba, off the coast of Tanzania, the place offers an exquisite privacy and sense of comfortable isolation. It takes a solid 12 hours to get there from London, involving an overnight fight to Nairobi or Dar es Salem, and a propellor plane to Pemba. When taking any smal propeller plane in Africa, its worth nothing that the actual departure time and/or destination, is always up for review. Often during our time in Africa we boarded a small flight from point A to B, only to discover whilst on board we would be stopping at C and D en route.
Mr. Murphy is under the impression that any plane he boards with no more than 8 seats will plummet from the sky and explode in a fireball, in addition he admitted recently that he is sometimes overcome by the urge to throw open the emergency exit and leap from the plane. This makes for hilarous take off and landings, at least for Mrs. M.
Upon arrival in Pemba we were met by a loquacious taxi driver who careened through lush landcape whizzing past the locals walking along the side of the road, the ladies carrying water and produce on their heads,the kids waving and hooting at us. On the way he gave us a potted history of Pemba. Once the biggest producer of cloves in the world, the Island was a key part of the famed Spice isles of yore. Cloves remain an important crop to this day, but the Island is better known as a center of Voodoo and draws voodoo tourists from all over Africa looking for a cure or a curse.
We pulled into a port of sorts and walked along a half submerged concrete jetty to a yellow speedboat, all the while trailed by a hoarde of small boys gawking curiously. After a glorious 25 minute speedboat ride along the lagoon we alighted at the wonky jetty of Fundu Resort, walked onto the Island and off the grid.
The resort is cleverly laid out on the banks of the lagoon in such a way that its virtually its possible to meet other guests. The fact that its maximum capacity is a mere 18 people makes this an even more unlikely proposition. We were lead to our beach side suite by the delightful assistant manager.
Our suite was comprised of a mosquito proof canvas sleeping tent, very well appointed with a lovely double sinked bathroom all encased in a traditional thatch hut. We had our own ample private pool, loungers on the beach and a two story grass hut to hang out in in during the day. The view from every angle was spectacular, even better throughout our stay we were visited occasionally by a wide eyed bush baby or selected members of the resort's resident monkey family.
Waking each morning to the sound of waves lapping on the beach not 15 feet away and with sunlight streaming through the bed's white gauze canopy, is difficult to beat. Once up and about we sauntered down the beach to breakfast each day.
As he is wont to do Mr M. Kept tally on how many meals we ate during our stay, 27 apparently and almost every one was a winner. The food is fresh and there is a daily Swahili option to keep you interested. If you rise late for breakfast or sleep throu lunch, you can choose to eat all day poolside. There they have non swahili indulgent holiday options, burgers, club sandwiches and the like….The pool area is quite lovely, with an infinity pool looking out over the Indian ocean and houses one of Fundu's many bars. The drinks offering is excellent, good cocktails top shelf liquor.
The days trickle by, with nothing to keep you occupied other than watching the resident monkey family cavort in the trees, walking on the beach, eating, drinking and reading. There is no wi-fi, no TV, its a true return to nature. How often do you get to totally switch off and reset? at Pemba, you have no choice and also, most delicious? You get to do it in private….
Verdict: Heaven on Earth
For Who: Honeymooners, like Mr. M and I, anyone who wants to get away from it all and them all
The Damage: Not Cheap, but all inclusive so, worth doing the math